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Matauranga Maori and other ontological / epistemological views

Simon Veritas made this Official Information request to University of Auckland

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From: Simon Veritas

Dear University of Auckland,

I understand that the Vice Chancellor in an email announced that "the University has deep respect for matauranga Maori as a distinctive and valuable knowledge system... we believe that matauranga Maori and Western empirical science are not at odds."

Under the legislation, I wish to request the following information:

1. Is the above summary correct?
2. If so, who is meant by "the University"; does this mean the Vice Chancellor or the University Council?
3. If the latter, what consultations with Council occurred, when, and with who specifically?
4. Does "the University" hold any other specific ontological or epistemological views relating to particular views of knowledge similar to the above, and if so, what are they?
5. For the avoidance of doubt, what is the university's view on: empiricism; rationalism; skepticism; pragmatism; relativism; constructivism; and idealism?
6. If the university does not have a view on the above theories of knowledge, but does have one on matauranga Maori, what is the reason?
7. Any email communications sent or received by the VC relating to the development of the aforementioned email
8. How does the university balance its requirement to allow freedom of thought, with the specific view on matauranga Maori, in hiring academic staff?
9. Specifically, would an academic's view on any contested ideology be of any influence in decisions on her or his hiring?
10. If so, please provide the hiring policy relevant

Yours faithfully,

Simon Veritas

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From: Rebecca Ewert
University of Auckland

Dear Simon,

 

I refer to your email of 26 July 2021, in which you made both requests for
official information and requests for comment. The University’s response
follows.

 

 1. Is the above summary correct?

I can confirm that the Vice-Chancellor, in an email to all staff sent on
26 July 2021, stated: “The University has deep respect for mātauranga
Māori as a distinctive and valuable knowledge system. We believe that
mātauranga Māori and Western empirical science are not at odds and do not
need to compete. They are complementary and have much to learn from each
other.”  

2. If so, who is meant by "the University"; does this mean the Vice
Chancellor or the University Council?
Under section 3(2) of the University of Auckland Act 1961: “The University
shall consist of the Council, the professors emeriti, the professors,
lecturers, junior lecturers, Registrar, and librarian of the University
for the time being in office, the graduates and undergraduates of the
University, the graduates of the University of New Zealand whose names are
for the time being on the register of the Court of Convocation of the
University of Auckland, and such other persons and classes of persons as
the Council may from time to time determine.” Under clause 9 of the
University’s Media, Public Communication and Statements Policy
([1]https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/the-...),
the Vice Chancellor may represent the University’s position on any matter.
3. If the latter, what consultations with Council occurred, when, and with
who specifically?
The Vice-Chancellor’s role includes publicly representing the University’s
positions. Council is not required to be consulted about the
Vice-Chancellor’s public representation of the University’s positions.

4. Does "the University" hold any other specific ontological or
epistemological views relating to particular views of knowledge similar to
the above, and if so, what are they?
The University has not expressed a position on these matters.

5. For the avoidance of doubt, what is the university's view on:
empiricism; rationalism; skepticism; pragmatism; relativism;
constructivism; and idealism?
As stated above in response to your fourth question, the University has
not expressed a position on these matters. The Official Information Act
1986 does not require agencies to create official information, which
includes requests to form views on matters of interest to a requester.

6. If the university does not have a view on the above theories of
knowledge, but does have one on matauranga Maori, what is the reason?
As stated above, the Official Information Act 1986 does not require
agencies to create official information, which includes requests to form
views on matters of interest to a requester.
7. Any email communications sent or received by the VC relating to the
development of the aforementioned email
The correspondence requested is withheld under section 9(2)(g)(i) of the
Official Information Act to maintain the effective conduct of public
affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions by or between or
to members of an organisation in the course of their duty, and section
9(2)(a) of the Act, to protect privacy.

8. How does the university balance its requirement to allow freedom of
thought, with the specific view on matauranga Maori, in hiring academic
staff?
9. Specifically, would an academic's view on any contested ideology be of
any influence in decisions on her or his hiring?
10. If so, please provide the hiring policy relevant
As stated above, the Official Information Act does not require agencies to
create information in response to requests. This includes includes
requests to form views on matters of interest to a requester and answering
hypothetical questions. University policies relating to recruitment,
selection and appointment of academic staff are available here:
[2]https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/the-....
I note that the Vice-Chancellor’s opinion piece on freedom of expression
is publicly available here:
[3]https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/news/2021/...

 

You have the right to make a complaint to an Ombudsman if you are
dissatisfied with this response.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Rebecca Ewert

General Counsel

University of Auckland

 

From: Simon Veritas <[4][FOI #16197 email]>
Sent: Monday, 26 July 2021 7:54 PM
To: legal <[5][email address]>
Subject: Official Information request - Matauranga Maori and other
ontological / epistemological views

 

Dear University of Auckland,

I understand that the Vice Chancellor in an email announced that "the
University has deep respect for matauranga Maori as a distinctive and
valuable knowledge system... we believe that matauranga Maori and Western
empirical science are not at odds."

Under the legislation, I wish to request the following information:

1. Is the above summary correct?
2. If so, who is meant by "the University"; does this mean the Vice
Chancellor or the University Council?
3. If the latter, what consultations with Council occurred, when, and with
who specifically?
4. Does "the University" hold any other specific ontological or
epistemological views relating to particular views of knowledge similar to
the above, and if so, what are they?
5. For the avoidance of doubt, what is the university's view on:
empiricism; rationalism; skepticism; pragmatism; relativism;
constructivism; and idealism?
6. If the university does not have a view on the above theories of
knowledge, but does have one on matauranga Maori, what is the reason?
7. Any email communications sent or received by the VC relating to the
development of the aforementioned email
8. How does the university balance its requirement to allow freedom of
thought, with the specific view on matauranga Maori, in hiring academic
staff?
9. Specifically, would an academic's view on any contested ideology be of
any influence in decisions on her or his hiring?
10. If so, please provide the hiring policy relevant

Yours faithfully,

Simon Veritas

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